Robert Somers was a lifelong aviation enthusiast. In over 50 years of flying he amassed nearly 34,000 logged hours in various types of aircraft and helped train hundreds of young pilots.
People in the flying world knew him as "Troop"
If you or someone you know is interested in a career in aviation and would benefit from a financial scholarship to continue the process to becoming a pilot.
Robert Somers was an enthusiastic ambassador for flying as a profession or hobby and was always willing to share his love with anyone who was interested. It is in that spirit that we are proud to provide scholarships to others who share a love for flying and help them become a “Troop”.
Your support and contributions will enable us to provide financial assistance to aspiring pilots in the Greenville area.
You may donate using the button below, by mail or in person. You should make checks payable to the Greenville Airport Commission with "Robert Somers Aviation Scholarship" on the memo line. The address is: Greenville Airport Commission, 100 Tower Dr, Unit 2, Greenville, SC 29607 .
Donations to the Greenville Airport Commission are tax deductible!
You can help support our mission by purchasing Bob's book "The Cuban Eight" or a framed (or unframed) Tiger print!
"The Cuban Eight" is a book of short stories about some of the interesting people Bob met during his time at Stevens Aviation, particularly focused on the adventures of Leonard Povey, former commander of the Cuban Air Force and inventor of the Cuban Eight flight maneuver. Call Kim Bright at (864) 242-4777 for information on purchasing one of these books.
A perfect gift for the Tiger fans in your life! After painting numerous original tiger pictures, Bob decided to create a limited edition print. You can purchase a similarly framed/matted print or and unframed one ($40) that you can have framed as you choose. All prints are signed and numbered. The print fits nicely in a standard 11x14 frame. Call Kim Bright at (864) 242-4777 for more information on purchasing a framed or unframed print.
Robert Somers was a lifelong aviation enthusiast. In over 50 years of flying he amassed nearly 34,000 logged hours in various types of aircraft and helped train hundreds of young pilots. He was a “pilot’s pilot”, always serious about doing everything the right way and always being prepared for any situation.
He felt a special bond with others involved in the flying world and had a special name for them: “Troop”. It was a term of endearment expressing his fondness for other “flyboys” (and girls). He figured if you were into flying that you were “OK” and Troop was his way of acknowledging that.
As a teenager, Bob fell in love with flying. At age 16, he and his good friend JJ Quinn decided to take flying lessons at the local airstrip in their home town of Culpeper, VA. Quickly they discovered that they wanted to fly as much as possible and enlisted the help of Bob's brother Ken to purchase their first airplane, a 1943 Piper J-3 Cub (N51570), for $313. He had the airplane before he ever had a car, saying he could ride a bike or hitchhike to the airstrip. The airplane was something that they really couldn’t afford, having to come up with $6 payment per person every month plus $0.28 per gallon of fuel, but they paid for it by doing odd jobs, selling scrap and giving joy rides to locals. He quickly completed his solo flight and by 1954 he had his Commercial and Instructor ratings in hand.
After high school, Bob enlisted in the Army where he spent 3 years as an aircraft mechanic. He continued flying while in the Army, as much as time and money allowed though both were is short supply.
After his discharge from the Army he headed south and began his professional flying career with Johnson Air Services and Easley Lumber Company. Later he was hired by Stevens Aviation where he flew for over 40 years. While at Steven’s he also did marketing/advertising work and Aero Club/instructing.
In addition to flying, Bob was an accomplished writer, artist and avid tennis player; a true “modern renaissance man”. He published dozens of articles in publications such as “Professional Pilot”, “Flying”, “Flight Lines” and even non-flying related publications like “Sandlapper Magazine”. He even published a book of short stories about some interesting people he encountered during his career, called “The Cuban Eight”. He was a painter and illustrator and produced hundreds of works, including a collection of historic and modern aircraft.
Bob was an enthusiastic ambassador for flying as a profession or hobby and was always willing to share his love with anyone who was interested. It is in that spirit that we are proud to provide scholarships to others who share a love for flying and help them become a “Troop”.
Sharing the love of flying with the next generation
The Robert Somers Aviation Scholarship was created to give help to deserving aspiring pilots by offsetting a bit of the cost associated with instruction. We realize that the cost of pursuing a career in aviation can be prohibitive to many who would love to fly so we want to provide support to them. Recipients of this scholarship will be awarded money that may be used at one of the flight schools at the Greenville Downtown Airport.
You may donate by clicking here, by mail or in person. You should make checks payable to the Greenville Airport Commission with "Robert Somers Aviation Scholarship" on the memo line. The address is: Greenville Airport Commission, 100 Tower Dr, Unit 2, Greenville, SC 29607 .
100% of the donations will be used for scholarships.
Our scholarship program is exclusively for highly motivated residents of Upstate South Carolina that have a passion for aviation as a career. Preference will be given to applicants that have completed their written exam for the rating they are currently pursuing.
A limited number of scholarship recipients will be selected based on a completed application packet as well as phone and/or in-person interviews.
We do not discriminate based on gender or race.
You may download the application here.
100 Tower Drive, Greenville, South Carolina 29607, United States
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